5 Retro Holidays that Bring Back the Good Old Times

Pick an old-school caravan or a vintage festival for a blast from the past.  
UK Vintage
Go glamping at Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans in the UK. Photo: Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans

Not all travel to the past comes with heavy baggage. Snag a vintage car or a restored camper and party like the 1970s with our list of retro holidays that feel just like the old days.

Classic Tours

Vintage cars Aston Martin Rolls Royce

Take a vintage drive around the world. Photo: Raider of Gin/ Flickr/ Creative Commons (bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

Beetle around in a vintage drive on scenic routes mapped by the same British company that has organized centenary tours for the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and Aston Martin. There are group trips to spectacular locations like the Norwegian fjords, or you can buy their guidebook for an independent drive. There’s the Hampshire, Wiltshire and Stonehenge Tour for an ancient throwback, or the castles of Kent and the historic Scottish highlands and islands. Coast along the Spanish Pyrenees or the Italian lakes—it’s all good when you’re slowing down time. See classictravelling.com/.

Vintage Festival

UK vintage festival, photo by Neil Buchan Grant

UK’s Vintage Festival celebrates the best of British past. Photo: Neil Buchan Grant

From the 1920s to the 1990s, UK’s Vintage Festival celebrates the best of British music, fashion, film, art, dance and design. Created by the HemingwayDesign team in collaboration with researchers from Wolverhampton University, Vintage Festival revives the archives with makeovers, art workshops, vintage funfairs, and vinyl records—all for the noble cause of inspiring creativity. Have a Vintage New Year’s Eve across seven pop-up nightclubs at the Southbank Centre, London. See www.vintagefestival.co.uk/.

Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans

Gertie, camper van, photo by Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans

Gertie, a camper van said to hail from the 1930s, has original gas lamps and handmade oak furniture. Photo: Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans

Vintage fabrics and fittings, antique crockery, hot-water bottles under the sheets, and old-school camping under the stars—Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans offers eco-friendly glamping in Herefordshire, UK. Situated in the gardens of an old listed rectory, the glampsite is a wildflower meadow where the kids can swing on tyres and build dens, and everyone gathers around a log circle for meals. The reupholstered caravans burst with charm, from a World War II military wagon to a 1950s ride with a cocktail cabinet and a 1930s caravan with original gaslamps and handcrafted oak furniture. See maddogsandvintagevans.co.uk/.

 Belpayre Airstream and Retro Camping

Caravans, Pyrenees, photo by Belpayre Airstream and Retro Camping

Funky caravans and groovy tunes in the foothills of the Pyrénées. Photo: Belpayre Airstream and Retro Camping

Ten shiny Airstreams—American aluminium travel trailers—are parked in the foothills of the Pyrénées, near the historic town of Mirepoix in southern France. You can rent a funky, restored caravan from the 1940s to the ‘70s, hitch your vintage trailer or pitch a tent. The site is equipped to meet the needs of the differently abled. From May until the end of September, hosts Perry and Coline offer a blast from the 1970s and ‘80s, with vinyl records playing from the Airstream-converted Apollo Lounge, local produce on the table, and outdoorsy activities from forest trails to canoeing. If you’re still sitting on the fence, there’s a Canadian red cedarwood hot tub flanked by a Mongolian yurt that serves as a massage area and relaxation lounge. See www.airstreameurope.com/.

Cuba

Chevrolet Dominoes

Cuba is the perfect window to a less consumerist time. Photo: David Alan Harvey/ National Geographic Creative

Cuba is on the cusp of change, but for now, retro can’t get more real than on this island nation. From the vintage cab service and sprightly pre-revolution vehicles on the streets to the absence of advertisements and malls, Cuba is the perfect window to a less consumerist time. There’s graffiti of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, old war medals for sale, and hotels like the Habana Libre and the Riviera that seem firmly parked in the 1950s. Stay at the 18th-century palace Santa Isabel, or soak up 19th-century charm in restored hotels like Hotel Florida, Saratoga and Hotel Beltrán de Santa Cruz.

  • Saumya Ancheri is the former Assistant Editor of NGT India's web team. She loves places by the sea, and travels to shift her own boundaries. She tweets as @Saumya_Ancheri.

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